Noctua NH-U12A


The following system was used to test the cooler:
– Processor: Intel i9 9900K @ 5GHz
– Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming X
– RAM: Ballistix Tactical Tracer 16GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz
– GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio
– SSD: Crucial MX500
– HDD: WD 1 TB Blue
– PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 750W Platinum
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe White
– Thermal compound: Noctua NT-H2


Software used for testing the cooler:

– AIDA64 Extreme Version: 6.20.5300
– Intel Burn Test v2.54
– Prime95 29.1

The cooler was tested with the CPU at the default turbo frequency of 4.9 GHz and overclocked to 5 GHz with a core voltage of 1.261 V.
Also, the included fans have been used at their maximum speed.
The room temperature was approximately 26°C (78°F), with 2°C margin of error.
The idle test consists of the CPU sitting idle at the desktop for 30 minutes, the temperature was measured at the end of the test.


The settings of the software used are the following:
Intel Burn Test v2.54 – Stress level: Maximum
Prime95 29.1- small FFT
AIDA64 Extreme Version – FPU Benchmark & Temperature monitoring.
Each test was conducted for 40 minutes.




Full Load – IntelBurnTestV2


Full Load – AIDA64 CPU, FPU & Cache


The noise level was measured at three different distances from the fans (10cm, 20cm, 30cm.) the noise was measured with a margin of error of ± 2 db.


The Noctua NH-U12A only covers one of the four RAM slots, and this is mainly due to how the motherboard is designed. However, the heatsink is tall enough to allow the usage of above average height RAM Sticks, and in addition, the fan clips allow the installation of both fans higher on the heatsink.


The PCIe clearance is good, there is ample space for the first PCIe x1 slot and the M.2 socket which is often found under the CPU socket.


Final thoughts

The Noctua NH-U12A is the answer offered by Noctua to those that wanted a performance similar with that of the NH-D15, but with a smaller footprint. The NH-U12A is not cheap, with an average price of 99 USD or EUR, it is more expensive than the Noctua NH-D15 and NH-D15S, two coolers that are overall better at cooling.

The build quality very good starting with the soldering of the heatpipes and the baseplate, and ending with the two NF-A12x25 PWM fans.

Thanks ton Noctua’s SecuFirm2 mounting system, the NH-U12A is easy to install. In addition, the metallic backplate offers a good weight distribution over the CPU socket.

The only inconvenient of the NH-U12A is the price, while it is a very good cooler, it is more expensive than the NH-D15 and is also a few degrees Celsius behind.

In conclusion, the Noctua NH-U12A is ideal for smaller systems that require a good CPU cooler that will also have a low noise output. The main purpose of this cooler is to offer as much clearance as possible, for both the RAM and PCIe slots of the motherboard, and it does that with ease.

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